If you’ve ever googled “how to get rid of large pores” or “how to shrink pores,” unfortunately the short answer is you can’t. Pores don’t open and close so you can’t exactly shrink them and you definitely can’t get rid of them.
Pores actually play a pretty vital role in protecting the skin. Sebum reaches the surface of the skin through the pores to help protect the skin and keep it moisturized.
But another thing to note is that while pores can’t open and close, they can become stretched, especially when clogged up with dead skin, bacteria, and oil. When this happens, pores can become more visible.
What is it that makes pores appear large?
The more obvious culprit responsible for large-looking pores are pore clogging impurities like dead skin cells and excess sebum (as mentioned above). So, If you have oily skin then you may also have enlarged pores due to all the excess oil production. When pores become clogged with dead skin and oil, they can make pores appear more noticeable, especially when the gunk becomes colored when exposed to air and becomes blackheads.
But there are also some less obvious factors that affect pore size, like genetics. Pore size and general skin type is largely determined by genetics, so if one of your parents has oily skin and noticeably large pores, then it's likely that you inherited this characteristic from them.
Then there’s sun damage. While we all know the immediate effects of sun damage, like super sunburned skin after a day out, it also has an effect on pore size. Sun damage can cause a breakdown in collagen and elastin, both of which help support the elasticity of the skin. So when pores lose support from things like collagen and elastin, they start to stretch and appear larger.
Is it possible to reduce the look of large pores?
While we’ve established that it’s not possible to shrink pores, it is possible to help reduce the look of large pores.
For example, since sun damage can affect the look of pores, you can incorporate sunscreen in your skincare to help protect the collagen in the skin. And if you’re worried about sunscreen breaking you out or clogging up your pores, there are actually tons of sunscreen options that are specifically made to be non-comedogenic (aka not pore clogging).
With excess oil also being a cause of clogged pores, you can seek out oil balancing skincare to help reduce the sebum clogging up (and stretching out) pores. For oily skin types, our Dermafix collection uses ingredients like Calamine and Green Tea to help control oiliness.
Lastly, skincare products like exfoliants (including AHAs and BHAs) and retinol can further help reduce the look of large pores by removing dead skin and excess oil. Removing the things that can get trapped in pores helps reduce pore congestion that can otherwise stretch pores and make them look more noticeable.
Although genetics are a huge determining factor in what our skin looks like, there are still steps you can take to help reduce the appearance of large pores. Sun care, exfoliants, and oil balancing skincare can help improve the look of large pores even if you can’t change the actual size of pores.